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In a follow-up to his eye-opening interview with local architect-developer Ted Smith (he’s the one who declared that “community groups do not represent the community”), VOSD land-use reporter Andrew Keatts digs into what he says is the wider issue at stake: “whether the community planning process is representative.”

Smith provides a few new comments of his own too.

Partners in Health Care?

An engineer from Switzerland and his domestic partner live together in the North County community of Cardiff, and he’d like to buy her insurance through the new health care reform marketplace. He wants to know: Can domestic partners shop for health care together? How does the government figure out income?

It’s a complicated individual situation, but Second Opinion — our going series of questions-and-answers about health care reform — sheds light on the issue.

No Tight Timeline for Convention Center Expansion

The $520 million expansion has plenty of support from politicians on the left (who like the construction jobs) and the right (who appreciate the taxpayer assist for business interests). But environmental attorney Cory Briggs, whom you may remember from the Filner embroglio, isn’t the only person who’s opposed to the expansion.

As the U-T reports, lawsuits by Briggs are threatening to delay the expansion by years, potentially dooming efforts to keep Comic-Con and draw new business in the latter years of the decade. On the other hand, delays will give the national convention industry more time to pull out of an economic tailspin and meeting space glut that threatens to keep San Diego’s new conference halls empty.

• The U-T breaks down the costs of the convention center expansion here. They include $37 million for consultants, $40 million for “contingencies,” $7.5 million for permits and fees and $4 million for public art.

Supervisor Raps County Pension Proceeds

The U-T finds that some of the $9 billion county pension system’s big investments (we’re talking tens of millions or even $100 million) are making much less money than expected.

Nothing to see here, says the pension fund. You know how it is. Investments go up, investments go down (“cyclical gains and losses”).

But rankings suggest the overall pension system is faltering, and pension board member Dianne Jacob — a county supervisor — is furious about the “terrible” performance. “I mean, if we were in school that would be an F-minus-minus-minus.”

Quick News Hits

• A VOSD contributor’s complaints about the new Central Library spawned an intense response from our readers and leads the Top 10 list of the most popular stories on our site.

• The Chargers game won’t be blacked out after all thanks to ESPN sponsors and local companies that pitched in to buy seats. (U-T)

• The governor has vetoed a bill that could have spelled major legal problems for organizations like the Catholic Church by giving victims an opportunity to sue over alleged abuse from long ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bill would have opened another window in the statute of limitations for victims of long-ago sexual abuse to file lawsuits; the previous window came in 2003.

• If you’re a Southern Californian of a certain age, you may remember the 1971 Sylmar quake in the L.A. area that killed 49 people when concrete structures failed at a VA hospital. Now, the L.A. Times says more than 1,000 concrete buildings in Los Angeles might be risk of collapsing in an earthquake, and dozens are almost certain to crumble.

San Diego, of course, has many concrete buildings. Fortunately, major earthquakes have only glanced at us over the past century, and it appears that quakes have just killed one person here. (We tracked our not-so-shaky quake history in a 2010 story after that startling Easter Sunday shaker.)

Local quakes in the 19th century appear to have been in the range of magnitude 6.0 and 7.0. They didn’t do much damage, probably because barely any people lived here.

Still, one quake in 1862 cracked the tower of the Point Loma lighthouse, damaged buildings and sent residents scurrying to sleep in their corrals to stay safe from aftershocks. “Others imitated me in town,” one resident recalled. Better a tipped cow, it seems, than a tipped house.

Correction: An earlier version of the Morning Report inadvertently included a report based on a U-T story about the city dismissing a pension-related lawsuit. The story was from 2011. We apologize for including the outdated story. 

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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